With less than a month too go until we open "Macbeth," our designers have our hands full. This week we wanted to focus on the work they've done so far.
first off, we have Hannah Kubiak, pulling double duty as costume designer and the character of Lennox.
Q:So to start off with, can you talk a bit about your design concept?
A:Sure. During our first production meeting, Alec said that one of the themes he sees in Macbeth is that war and violence are for all time. It's a constant in our world. Always has been and always will be. I took that idea and decided to design for a post apocalyptic setting where violence and war have outlasted the world as we know it.
Q:There are a few different ideas of a post apocalyptic world. What is yours and how did you determine that?
A:Good question. The apocalypse can take many different forms, from the crazy, coked up Mad Max apocalypse to utopias with a dark underbelly like in George Orwell's 1984, or Katzuo Ishiguro's dystopian England in Never Let Me Go, "the most charming and sweet little dystopia you ever saw," as someone I know once said.
We definitely went the Mad Max route with Macbeth.
Personally, I think an apocalypse is when our environment forces us to rely more on our instincts, our passions, our "animal selves," rather than our rational selves. Reason is what separates us from the beasts.
We need our instincts and passions, of course, but everything needs to be in balance. An apocalypse is a world out of balance.
I'm now starting to question whether we live in an apocalypse at this very moment...
Q: I know that you plan to use some unconventional materials for some parts of the costumes. Could you talk about those a bit?
A:The set for the play is primarily going to be a graffiti wall with trash bins and different types of salvage. I am planning on using this "salvage" theme in the costume designs as well, going off the idea that these people will use whatever they find around them to protect/shelter themselves. I'm planning on making armor pieces from old license plates and tires, mainly. People use chains and garbage can lids as weapons in some scenes. I'm also going to try and tie the costumes in to the graffiti idea. I've been designing some symbols and "clan signatures" for a lot of these characters that will be worked into their costumes somehow.
Andy Wagner typically creates music under the name The Twilight and this is his first time sound designing for theatre.
Q:Let's start with this: did you have any kind of concept when you started working on the score?
A:When I started composing the score for Macbeth, I aimed to create something dark, gritty, atmospheric, and uncomfortable. I focused on what the evil energy of the witches would sound like and allowed that to inform the direction I took the music.
Q:Since you've been very present in rehearsals the last few weeks, has that changed any of what you're working on?
A:I've been doing my best to make changes to the music when I see something isn't working with a scene. Sometimes the mood of a cue doesn't fit with the performance an actor is giving, or maybe the pacing of a scene doesn't match up well... those are the things I'm looking out for so corrections can be made as soon as possible. Being present for rehearsals has definitely helped me lock into the vision the rest of the team has for the production, and I think it has made delivering the material we need much easier.
Q:What is your experience creating music and in particular, scoring?
A:I became interested in making music about three years ago. I've always had a deep emotional connection to music, but for most of my life I knew almost nothing about it! The only education in music I received was way back in my elementary school years. Any talent or know-how I may now possess came through learning from forum posts and educational videos online. I had no proper experience scoring prior to Macbeth.
Q:How have you adapted to the new creative experience of scoring a play?
A:It was fun coming up with a palette of sounds to use throughout the score. I think having a unified sound helps make a soundtrack feel coherent, and I hope I reached that benchmark with my work on Macbeth.
A big challenge with scoring Macbeth was writing the music that the play needed. My creative process is normally pretty free-form--I often don't know what I'm writing until it's already happened! For the score, I had to reign myself in, mentally sit myself down and say, "Look, you have to write for *this* scene right now." That was an uncomfortable experience, but I've grown as a composer for working through it.
I've learned that for scoring adaptive works (such as video games or plays, where cue points can occur dynamically) it will work better to approach composing from a slightly different perspective. For most of the scoring process, I was thinking too much about making "songs" and less about creating different aural layers that could be brought in and out as the action on-stage ebbed and flowed through different cue points. That's something I'll be sure to keep in mind in the future.
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